Over the past 10+ years I have been working on the problem of writing some sort of memoir. A while ago I felt I was near to self-publishing my opus 8 countries, 62 years. But then we started on this move from Dublin to Seattle and then the manuscript went back and forth between disks and computers etc. And I got the idea of adding photographs. And all the possible photographs were in the shipments. So time is still ticking on. I have been blogging to keep the writing fires burning but really I must finally polish something off and move on. Do the final editing. Now that we are proceeding with the unpacking more photographs and more archival material is coming to light and I keep going off on tangents. I feel under a lot of pressure – totally self-imposed- to finish this first volume off and then I can move freely off on these other tangents. It’s like having a term paper or a thesis – do the final polishing and hand it in! In my case it will be to the printer or to Original Writing back in Dublin.
In conjunction with my Irish language study, every day for the past year or so I have been writing the word/phrase for the day in a little notebook, the Murakami Diary 2009. This is a lovely little diary which I bought because I liked the illustrations and the quotes from Murakami’s various books. Well, here is what I found this morning – an excerpt from Murakami’s lecture “The Sheep Man and the End of the World”, delivered in English at Berkeley California USA on November 17 1992.
According to Murakami –
“The most important thing is confidence. You have to believe you have the ability to tell the story, to strike the vein of water, to make the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Without that confidence, you can’t go anywhere. It’s like boxing. Once you climb into the ring, you can’t back out. You have to fight until the match is over.”
Then Murakami goes on to say that that is the way he writes his novels, and he loves to read novels that have been written this way. To him, spontaneity is everything. He believes in the power of the story. The power of the story to arouse something in our spirits, in our minds – something that has been handed down to us from ancient times.
Well, I’m not trying to write a novel – but I am trying to write the story of my life and to make sense of it and to make it interesting and informative for my children and grandchildren. I am struggling in getting the introduction and in winding it up. I think I have the bulk of it written but I just have to fit or make the border – up to this point in time – and my time frame keeps moving on relentlessly. Happy New Year Everyone!
A first draft has been in hard copy for some years. But it needs polishing and more careful editing – and then the confidence to release it for public view. I have been a bit shy and lacking in confidence about this. Somehow bits of what I had written were too private and I wanted to hone those out. And I also wanted to eliminate some of the boring bits which only had meaning to me as a memoir and really wouldn’t be of any interest to anyone else ever. And there were a few points I wanted to develop further. And I wanted to somehow tie the whole thing together in a carefully crafted way. But now I’ve just reached the point where I feel thwarted and it is becoming a nightmare where I am trying to get somewhere and keep getting interrupted or having to turn back.
I tend to read other people’s memoirs. I am particularly impressed by several friends who have written about their lives and have self-published. Here I want to cite Betty Nunan who wrote about her experiences in Bhutan. Betty was in the creative writing class that I took for several terms. Just as an aside – I took that class with the intention of having it help me in the writing of the memoir. The class was good and I found it stimulating and I made a number of friends. Unfortunately though the teacher wanted us all to be poets and she tended to disparage the idea of a memoir. Happily though my classmates were encouraging and helped me along when I felt that my efforts were not necessarily appreciated by the teacher. I might add though that I liked her a lot and feel that we are friends.
Three other local Dundrum/Dublin friends have also written nd self-published their work – Richard Cox’s research into his father’s early life – This Father I Never Knew. A man who lives in Sandyford has published a memoir on his years in Uganda and Kenya. And a bookselling friend has published a book about his time in Uganda when Idi Amin came to power.
Murakami Diary 2009
Betty Nunan’s book – On the Edge of the Map
My book – draft copy that needs editing and photos, etc.